A few months earlier I talked to Todd about joining the Banter. Here’s an email he sent me on October 19, 2008:
Sorry for the length of this email.
I am very excited about the possibility of moving all my writing over to Bronx Banter. I just want to make sure that you know who I am.
I started blogging by accident. When Pete Abraham was still on Blogger and started making people register to comment I wasn’t very “tech savvy” and I didn’t realize I could have quit after setting up a password. I kept hitting next and when I was finished I’d set up a blog template. Since I did that I figured I might write something.
My wife thinks it’s been good for me. We’ve been together for a long time and she watched be burn out in newspapers and magazines. While I do a lot of writing and editing in my job at the ACLU, it has been different than living on two or three hours of sleep because there was always more reporting and writing to do.
Yankees For Justice has become who I am. It’s where I live and what I see and who I know and what I think and believe. I would love to bring that all to Bronx Banter, but I don’t want to lose anything and I don’t want to put you in a tough spot.
I went through and collected a bunch of posts I’ve done over the last two years. I ended up with a lot of links (sorry about that), but pay particular attention to the social justice section. I’ve written a lot about Sean Bell and brutal cops and city policies that go out of their way to hurt the poorest people.
Take a look at the George Mitchell stuff. I stand by every word I wrote about him and Selig in the weeks that followed that ridiculous “investigation” and “report.”
Read my posts defending Barry Bonds. Those got three separate death threats emailed to me.
Also, take a look at the pieces I write about soldiers, especially the kid who used to work at Yankee Stadium and came home from Iraq in body bag.
We were talking about Alex Rodriguez yesterday and you asked if I was Latin. I said I am not. A lot of people who don’t like that I defend Barry Bonds think I am black. I am not. But then again, maybe I am on both counts.
I am Latin and black. I come from China and Africa and the Middle East. I snuck across the border in the middle of the night. I picked cotton in Texas and processed meat in Kansas and laid bricks in Brooklyn. That makes me an American.
And I’m an American whose history doesn’t go back that far. All the family I know were poor farmers in the Tully Valley just south of Syracuse. They lost their farms in the Great Depression and became poor factory workers in Syracuse. I grew up on the Northside, which some people think is pretty rough. The cops call the neighborhood: Free Jail.
The factories started closing up years before I ever had a shot at a job so when I got near the end of high school I got my GED and took my military physical just like every other guy in my neighborhood. I was maybe a day or so from signing the enlistment papers when my baseball coach called and said the school’s art teacher needed to see me. One of the things I did in high school was work in the photo darkroom.
The local newspaper needed someone to work third shift and develop film and print pictures. I took the job and didn’t sign those military papers. I worked that job for a long time and eventually they taught me how to layout news pages and then they sent me out with a camera to take photos and then I did some writing, too.
Journalism has fallen a long way since then. It is full of rich folks with college degrees who have no interest in covering the people in this country. I once asked Jimmy Breslin if he could a newspaperman today and he said: “Fuck no. I couldn’t even get in the door unless they needed a janitor.”
He wasn’t kidding either.
On Yankees For Justice it says: I believe in baseball and an equally free, open, just society for everyone. That’s who I am and where I live and what I see and who I know and what I think and believe.
After you read these posts I hope you still want me around.
This is what I’ve been doing lately:And here are few other things you should know about me:I don’t like George Mitchell or Bud Selig:I don’t like Mike Lupica either:But there was a time when I thought Lupica was going to be great:I am committed to social justice:I like Barry Bonds:I like Sammy Sosa, too:I don’t like people taking shots at Miguel Tejada:I believe in soldiers:I believe too many soldiers die for no good reason:I never stand for God Bless America:I believe that George Steinbrenner is a populist:I believe the Cubans don’t know who they’re dealing with:I went to The New York Times Building once, but only because Jimmy Breslin was there:I get most of my stories on the 2 train:I like New York ballplayers:I am Mexican:And I still think that blogs are poor excuses for street corners:
Now, and always, Todd is our brother, in our hearts forever. He is the soul of the Banter, our guardian angel.
Todd Drew: The Man. Amen.